Why STEM for Girls?
Harpeth Hall's Center for STEM Education offers girls advanced opportunities through its curriculum, co-curricular teams, interdisciplinary pathways, and external partnerships, notably with Vanderbilt University.
Harpeth Hall is proud to take the lead in STEM education for girls. We incorporate the essential, research-based components of a successful college preparatory experience for girls to develop and pursue their interest in STEM. In an all-girl environment, collaboration skills are easy to hone. Our approach is inquiry-focused, project-based and student-centered where girls learn to take risks, engage with scientific thinking and the engineering design process while building confidence to apply their understanding to the world’s problems.
Developing Foundations in the Middle School
Middle School STEM focuses on “Developing Foundations”. In our rigorous math and science curricula, we emphasize the fundamentals and begin to bridge to a higher level of STEM thinking. We introduce the engineering design process and scientific thinking skills early and continue to cultivate those concepts throughout the program.
Technology is fully integrated throughout our STEM programs, including our 1:1 laptop program for students in grades 5-12 and our state of the art Design Den which is a fully equipped makerspace for girls to experiment with 3D printers, Epilog Laser Cutters, and a variety of other tools. Coding is first introduced in 5th and 6th grades with mini-projects.
In 7th grade students expand to programming and building Lego Mindstorm® Robots, leading to more advanced coding in 8th grade that focuses on website and app design. In our 8th grade STEM Skills Workshop all girls develop the 3D spatial skills necessary to close the STEM gender gap
Broadening Competencies in the Upper School
In Upper School, students work at “Broadening Competencies” by diving deeply into STEM through our math, science and computer science courses. Specialized opportunities also are available to students through our multiple Honors and AP courses. Students who complete the most rigorous math courses can take multi-variable calculus, differential equations or linear algebra through our partnership with One Schoolhouse. In our Honors STEM Research class, students conduct independent research in a laboratory at Vanderbilt University and other organizations across Nashville.
We turn to preparing our students for greater challenges through Winterim STEM internships and independent research projects. Our 9th and 10th grade students have numerous choices on campus that vary from year to year. This year's selection include topics such as 'Structures, Technology And Robotics: A Hands-On Engineering Experience' and 'Medical Robotics'. Students in grades 11 and 12 have off campus opportunities both in Nashville and outside of our city, including places such as NASA, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation.
STEM Highlights "Inside the Hall"
Harpeth Hall recognizes our students and faculty in a variety of ways. "Inside the Hall" is the name of our internal parent e-newsletter that provides glimpses into our classrooms and celebrates accomplishments and everyday activity on campus. Below are some STEM highlights from that publication and from the STEM curriculum.